MWA’s Mike Stramaglio and Konica Minolta’s Rick Taylor understand dealer’s concerns and have taken steps to address them.
A week after the announcement that Konica Minolta had acquired MWA, the dust is beginning to settle on one of the top news stories of the year in the imaging industry.
While we expect the acquisition to yield positive benefits for both companies, there are a couple of outstanding questions that need to be answered, including what impact will this deal have on non-Konica Minolta dealers and what is the future of MWA’s Executive Connection Summit, an agnostic industry event that offers great value to dealers and other attendees from the imaging industry?
If you’re a non-Konica Minolta dealer…
Placing MWA under the All Covered umbrella will keep it separate from Konica Minolta to a certain extent and has the potential to reduce some non-Konica Minolta dealers concerns.
“The first thing we did was put this into All Covered, which is sort of one step removed from the mothership MFP business,” explained Konica Minolta President and CEO Rick Taylor. “We did that intentionally because [All Covered] does business with all kinds of multi-line dealers.”
“We will sign and continue to pursue Canon dealers and Kyocera dealers and any dealer that would like the advantage of having FORZA,” added Mike Stramaglio, president and CEO of MWA. “We don’t see anything that will inhibit us. Some people will find it objectionable, but I’ve been receiving a lot of calls and emails and the response has been very positive.”
Taylor and Stramaglio acknowledge that it’s important to reassure non-Konica Minolta dealers, and all dealers for that matter, that their data and client information will be protected. To ensure that happens, BTA General Counsel Bob Goldberg has been working with the two organizations to craft a contract that addresses data and client security.
“We’re enhancing the contract between MWA and the dealers and want to make it as airtight as possible for dealers to allay their concerns,” reported Taylor.
“[Bob Goldberg] is taking a strong position with us for the channel and as long as we continue to appeal to that security I think we’re going to be fine,” said Stramaglio. “One of the key components of our success has been our ability to be agnostic and Konica Minolta continues to take a position that says the strategy for FORZA and MWA is to sign any brand dealer and work with any OEM that’s willing to work with us to continue to drive innovation and knowledge transfer and things that help this industry be better.”
Taylor has invited Goldberg and BTA Executive Director Brent Hoskins to the company’s Monday morning kick off meeting to hear the strategy he and Mike are relaying to MWA and Konica Minolta employees.
“Frankly, if you don’t trust Rick Taylor, Mike Stramaglio, Bob Goldberg, and Brent Hoskins, you should do what makes you comfortable,” observed Taylor. “I get it and I get that they might not be comfortable and want to go in a different direction. All I will say is they should be prepared to compete against FORZA dealers across lots of different brands that will have these capabilities that I’m going to keep developing because of my SAP connection.”
The Future of the ECS
Another wild card surrounding the acquisition is the future of MWA’s Executive Connection Summit (ECS). This has historically been an agnostic event that draws in dealers, leasing companies, supplies organizations, software companies, and the various OEMs.
“We know we’re going to have to adjust some things we’re doing but the ECS was born on knowledge transfer and innovation, and as far as we’re concerned we’re going to continue to take that road,” stated Stramaglio. “If some people find it objectionable, then they will. There’s too many important things that are going on that affect everybody so we’re going to continue to take the position that it worked, it’s intimate, people like it, and we’re going to continue to invite them.”
Now that MWA is in the Konica Minolta family, Stramaglio and Taylor predict strong growth over the next year.
“A year from now, the plan has been to get us to the point where we can accelerate the adoption of FORZA in the marketplace,” said Stramaglio. “Konica Minolta has already taken action to hire additional people, we’re restructuring ourselves and our relationship with SAP, so a year from now I see us at four or five times the size. Implementations will be clicking along at three and four per month at a robust rate, and I see us enjoying [more] success internationally.”
He also sees the company making bigger inroads into larger and mega dealerships now that it has the resources to grow the business on a well-timed basis.
Meanwhile, Taylor is bullish on the product itself and is bracing himself for the impact that providing MWA with a wider array of resources will have on the product.
“I think we’re going to have a significantly better mousetrap—game changing,” said Taylor. “If you feel good about that, you should feel good about doing business with us. A year from now the growth in that business is going to be tremendous and we’re only going to be inhibited by our ability to spin dealers up on this system.”
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